CONCIERGE OF HELL
father, suddenly aged,
works ghostly sums in his head,
the number of houses on fire,
the number of bones in the casket.
Pills don’t seem to help;
whether face up or face down,
the cards leave the same puddles
of shadow on the table.
“Y is a crooked letter,” he says
to the man in the tailored suit
who radiates a strident bonhomie
like the concierge of hell.
The windows run with rain,
though the air itself is fiery dust.
I look up at the sound, using my finger,
tender where I nicked it yesterday
with a knife, to mark my place.
Howard Good, a journalism professor
at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of the poetry chapbook,
Death of the Frog Prince (FootHills Publishing, 2004).
His poems have appeared in numerous journals and e-zines,
including Right Hand Pointing, Stirring, Slow Trains,
Plum Ruby Review, Wilmington Blues, The Rose & Thorn,
2River View, and Lily.